Free practice for this weekend's Turkish Grand Prix got underway in the searing heat of Istanbul Park today where the air temperature soared to a high of 36 degrees. This morning, the Honda Racing F1 Team spent the session setting-up the car to suit the fast, flowing characteristics of this anti-clockwise circuit. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello ended the session 14th and 15th respectively.
This afternoon, Rubens' left rear tyre struck a loose drainage cover from the kerb at turn 10, which damaged the wheel and tyre and may have caused further underlying damage to the car. The session was red-flagged briefly whilst the cover was replaced. Jenson and Rubens also ended the second session in 14th and 15th positions.
"Finally, at the end of the session, we seemed to find a reasonable set-up, which is something we had been struggling with throughout the day. I'm much happier with the car now. This morning I didn't get a good run on either tyre. We did some laps on the option at the end of the day and that seemed to be reasonably consistent. We've made good progress over the two sessions and it seems we are getting there."
"The day had been progressing quite well, up to the point where I hit the drain cover. We checked the car and it seemed there was no obvious problem beyond the punctured tyre and damaged wheel, but when running resumed the car didn't feel very good at all. We need to check everything carefully to ensure there is no underlying damage because things were going reasonably well before that and I hope we can get back to how the car felt earlier in the day."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director:
"We have had a relatively straightforward Friday. By the end of the session both drivers found a consistent balance on both hard and medium tyres. The only small problem came when Rubens hit a drain cover which had lifted and was lying on the track. This destroyed the rear left rim and tyre. After that the car balance was not the same, so we have to check the car thoroughly overnight. For tomorrow we will try to reduce the understeer without compromising the traction."
Practice session 1: 14th, 17 laps, 1:30.483
Practice session 2: 14th, 26 laps, 1:29.945
Practice session 1: 15th, 25 laps, 1:30.580
Practice session 2: 15th, 31 laps, 1:30.055